To combat rising heath care costs, Revera Health Systems has launched a pilot program at select skilled nursing centers in New England, including Renaissance Manor of Westfield. Revera aims to minimize the need for residents to be readmitted to hospitals, by hiring skilled physicians to act as liaisons between each center and its local hospital.
Nationwide, Medicare expenditures have grown to $17 billion a year for patients who go back to the hospital from their skilled nursing or rehab centers due to complications, according to a 2009 study by the Institute for Health Care Improvement Collaborative. Yet the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee has determined that two-thirds of these costly readmissions are unnecessary or avoidable.
Clear communication and continuity of care are essential to reversing this trend, according to Tina Thomas, a regional VP of operations at Revera. She explains, "Effective communication results in better outcomes, both among our center staff and with our local hospitals." That is why Revera is hiring doctors like Todd D. Hope, MD, new Medical Director at Renaissance Manor of Westfield. Dr. Hope is also locally employed as a hospitalist at Wing Memorial Hospital in Palmer, Massachusetts, creating a vital link to the nursing homes. He is a graduate of University College Dublin School of Medicine in Ireland.
"Not only is Dr. Hope an enormously talented physician, with deep experience, pertinent research experience, and great bedside manner," says Thomas, "but he creates a bridge between the hospital and nursing home. He can follow patients from the hospital to our center and ensure continuity of care firsthand. He effectively manages transfers and discharges, and he consults with our nursing staff about individual patientsí needs."
Thomas says that Dr. Hope's patients from the hospital are delighted when they discover him continuing to check in and mange their cases at Renaissance Manor of Westifeld. "Revera is delighted, too," says Thomas, "and Medicare should be delighted as this level of coordinated care works to minimize readmissions in the months and years to come."
Although the pilot program has only been running for a short time, Thomas says that rehospitalization rates for patients being followed at Revera centers by hospitalists like Dr. Hope is lower than the industry average. "It's an investment that is paying off," she says, "as we and our residents avoid the expense and inconvenience of going back to the hospital for a preventable condition."
Revera Health Systems, a division of Revera, Inc., operates 30 skilled care centers across the United States. Revera centers offer both short and long-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing care as well as respite care and hospice care. For more information, and for a complete list of Revera locations, please visit reverahealthsystems.com.com or call 203-608-6100.